There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Greece is a destination of breathtaking natural beauty. It’s full of stunning historical sites, and gorgeous stretches of white and golden sand beaches overlooked by bright blue skies, but there are also some amazing hidden gems in Greece.
While it is natural to include the most famous Greek destinations when planning a visit to this stunning country, there’s a lot more to Greece when it comes to natural wonders and interesting small villages. In fact, there is a whole slew of amazing discoveries and hidden gems in Greece you can explore if you’re willing to get off the beaten path.
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Hidden Gems in Greece
With over two hundred and twenty islands and hundreds of villages, there are plenty of idyllic spots worth visiting that are still off the beaten track for many people. Here is a list of the best hidden gems in Greece to include in your travel itinerary.
1. Karpathos Island
This island is located between bustling Rhodes and Crete, on the southern side of the Aegean Sea. Karpathos is a marvelous Greek island that has managed to preserve its unspoiled natural beauty and cultural traditions.
Only the southern side of the island was developed for tourism. The rest is pretty much as it was centuries ago thanks to its rather secluded location.
This hidden gem in Greece is one of the best places for a quiet Greek vacation. It’s even better to escape from the hustle and bustle of the tourist hotspots for a couple of days.
Karpathos boasts magnificent beaches, archaeological sites, amazing natural beauty, and quaint little villages. It’s a place that proudly preserves their traditions from ancient times.
Apella and Kyra Panagia are the most popular beaches, while Olympo is ideal for learning about the island’s traditions. In this picturesque mountain village, women still dress in traditional clothes, and all homes have a wood-fired oven along with a small chapel. It is seemingly untouched by modernity and mass tourism.
If you’re aiming for the Greek island experience with fewer crowds than the super popular destinations, Pelion has you covered.
Though the hit movie Mamma Mia was filmed Pelion, most western tourists are not making this beautiful place a priority, yet.
This island is located on the eastern coast of mainland Greece, between Athens and Thessaloniki. Pelion is a surprisingly mountainous terrain that seems to pop out of the Aegean Sea.
Mostly locals and eastern Europeans visit this island. This is because Pelion is a haven that combines mountains and beaches, beloved by sun worshippers and nature adventurers alike.
The Pelion Peninsula is the perfect place to visit year round. During spring and summer, colorful wildflowers and lush greenery fill the slopes. Come wintertime, the higher mountains are covered with snow. Mount Pelion even has a skiing resort in Agriolefkes. Hiking, horseback riding, biking, and exploring picturesque villages in the area are done year-round.
Must-visit villages include Milies, Makrinitsa, and Tsagarada.
Said to be the tiny island where Aphrodite – the goddess of beauty in Greek mythology – was born, Kythira is one of the most isolated Greek islands, with tourism still undeveloped. It is located at the spot where the Mediterranean Sea and the Ionian Sea meet. This is a fabulous destination if you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful vacation.
Blessed with a captivating landscape that includes natural waterfalls and pristine beaches, Kythira offers the opportunity to decide whether to bathe in the cool waters of Fonissas and Mylopotalamos waterfalls or the warmer waves of Kalami and Palaiopi beaches.
For Greek history and architecture aficionados, the island’s cities and villages boast impressive Medieval architecture. Kapsali, Agia Pelagia, and Chora are the most touristy spots on the island. Chora offers a nice selection of restaurants and bars for when you’re ready to get out of your self-imposed idyllic seclusion.
Meteora is a stunning region of Greece where huge rocks rise over the village of Kalabaka, by the Pindos Mountains. We recommend a guided tour of Meteora to get the most of your visit.
This almost otherworldly place is home to monasteries perched on top of sandstone cliffs. The cliffs are surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and high mountains. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was originally 30 monasteries, yet only 6 working monasteries remain today. Visitors can enter and admire the beautiful frescoes and Byzantine relics while learning about the monks and nuns seemingly timeless way of life.
Not everything in Meteora is about religion and history. The rocky terrain is fantastic for rock climbing and hiking, two of the area’s main attractions.
You’ll also find Lake Plastira and the Natural Reserve of Antichassia close by, as well as the Aspropotamos River and the ancient Bridge of Agios Vissarionas. This is one of the best places in the winter as skiers flock to the popular ski center in the village of Pertouli.
5. Mastic Villages of Chios
The Mastic Villages of Chios are some of the least visited hidden gems in Greece. This is probably due to the fact that it takes a 9-hour ferry ride from the Greek mainland, or an internal flight to get there.
Although Chios offers breathtaking pebble beaches (we’re looking at you Mavra Volia and Apothika) and a pretty lively party scene, the real hidden gems it offers are the medieval Mastic villages and small towns that dot the charming island.
There are twenty four Mastic villages in Chios. Mesta, Olympi, and Pyrgi are the best one preserved. They get their unique name because they are the only places where Mastic trees grow. These trees are said to have special healing properties in their resin. This resin became the island’s main source of income for centuries. It was so popular that defenses were built to keep pirates from stealing it.
A getaway to Chios is the best way to mix some of the best beaches in Greece with unique history and architecture.
6. Blue Cave of Alonissos
The rocky coastline of Alonissos boasts a number of small caves with deep turquoise waters. The most famous is the Blue Cave on the northeastern side of the island.
Set inside Alonissos Marine Park, this hidden gem in Greece is reached by a boat tour and excursions set out daily. However, there are boat rentals available in case you want to do it on your own.
The Blue Cave is special because it is, literally, a big limestone triangle surrounded by crystal-clear waters that you can see the surrounding rocks reflected, with colors playing around as sunlight in late afternoon shines on them. Thankfully, swimming and diving are permitted.
Lodging and nice dining options are available at the nearby villages of Agios Dimitrios and Alonnisos. And of course, there are many traditional whitewashed studios with blue balconies available.
This rising tourist destination is only a 30-minute ferry ride from Mykonos. Located in the Greek Cyclades, Tinos still manages to remain a hidden gem in Greece, but maybe not for long.
Dubbed “the handmade island” by philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, Tinos is a lovely destination for architecture and art aficionados, nature lovers, sun worshippers, and foodies alike.
It does have some lovely beaches, but it’s the 40 picturesque villages with local traditional architecture that will keep you more than entertained on a day trip. You’ll find art galleries and museums showcasing great local marble carving artists and other collections as well as tasty, local cuisine in a plethora of family restaurants present in all the villages.
Even though dreamy islands are first on many bucket lists for Greece, northern Greece harbors many destinations that are worth exploring. And Metsovo is one of them.
This small stone village in the mountainous region of Epirus is a well-kept secret. It is truly a hidden gem in Greece that deserves to be discovered.
Nestled inside Pindos National Park, Metsovo is the largest village in the country. It’s a great destination for nature adventures, wine and cheese tasting, art, and culture.
Famous with locals mostly because of its winter ski resorts, Metsovo has something to offer all year long. First and foremost on the must-visit list is the Katogui Averoff winery! This winery produced the first wine in the region. The experience entails a tour to see the vineyards, a film projected on barrels, wine tasting, and a visit to the winery’s hotel and shop.
Other attractions are the Metsovo Folk Art Museum, the Averoff Museum of Modern Greek Art, and the Tossizza Foundation Dairy – where the famous Metsovone cheese is made with 90% cow milk and 10% goat milk.
Folegandros is perfect for those who love rugged and unspoiled beaches,
Being so close to tourist-ridden destinations in the Cyclades, it is somewhat surprising how untouched this beautiful hidden gem in Greece is. With thousands of visitors flocking to touristy Santorini and Mykonos, Folegandros seems like world – and ages – away.
It is a great option to get a taste of Greek island life. With a population of around 700, a handful of hotels, one single ATM, and no banks, there is not much to do here than explore, hike, relax at the almost deserted beaches, and eat delicious Greek fare at unpretentious restaurants.
Folegandros is a great place if you’re looking for rest and relaxation. In fact, it’s the perfect place to use as a breather when you wish to escape the crowds and noise of bustling Santorini and Mykonos for a couple of days.
Which of these best-hidden gems in Greece have you visited? Or, which ones have gone straight to your bucket list for a future vacation? Hopefully you’ve found one that speaks to you!